Garden Railways

Garden Railways (GR) is a quarterly American magazine about the hobby of running large-scale trains outdoors, also called garden railroading. Published since 1984, it is the world's leading magazine on that subject.[1] Each issue features hobby news, product reviews, how-to articles, featured railroads from around the world, photo galleries, and much more.

Garden Railways
EditorHal Miller
CategoriesHobby magazine, model train magazine
PublisherKalmbach Media Co.
FounderMarc Horovitz
Year founded1984
First issueDecember 1984
CountryUnited States
Based inWaukesha, Wisconsin

Garden Railways magazine began publication in 1984 by Sidestreet Bannerworks. The magazine evolved from the company's newsletter, the Sidestreet Banner, which dealt primarily with the small scale live-steam locomotives that the company was importing at that time. Marc Horovitz was the Editor and Barbara Horovitz the Horticultural Editor.

The first issues of Garden Railways were published in black-and-white. Text was generated on a typewriter. In 1985, a primitive IBM computer and a daisy-wheel printer were acquired, which allowed text to be printed out in justified columns. These columns, printed out in strips, were then pasted up by hand in the old-fashioned way.

Petria MacDonnell joined GR's staff at the beginning of 1986 as the magazine's first gardening editor, later succeeded by Chip Rosenblum, Barbara Abler, and Don Parker. Among the regular contributors in the magazine's early years was Peter Jones, who had a column in every issue until his death in 2009.

The magazine continued to grow, becoming an international publication with contributors from all over the world. In August 1985, Garden Railways, along with the Denver Garden Railway Society, sponsored the first ever Garden Railway Convention, in Denver, Colorado. The National Garden Railway Conventions continue today, though they are events hosted by local clubs and are no longer affiliated with Garden Railways magazine.

The May–June 1986 issue of GR was the first that appeared with an arched title on the cover, which became a trademark of the magazine. With the November–December 1986 issue, Garden Railways appeared with its first full-color cover. After that, color was gradually incorporated into the inside of the magazine, too.

In 1996, Garden Railways was sold to Kalmbach Publishing Company in Wisconsin. Marc Horovitz remained as editor of the magazine in Denver while Barb Horovitz, the magazine's former Horticultural Editor, retired the following year. Pat Hayward was Horticultural Editor from 1997-2008. Nancy Norris joined the staff in 2008 and remains the current Horticultural Editor.

Rene Schweitzer, the magazine's production editor, joined the staff in 1998 and remains there today. Marc Horovitz stepped down as editor in October 2018 and Kent Johnson became editor in November 2018. In October 2019, Kent was promoted to Producer of MR Video Plus, and Hal Miller became editor. Cody Grivno and Dana Kawala, both from Model Railroader magazine, help the staff by writing in-house product reviews and offering technical support.

The magazine is edited, designed, and produced at Kalmbach Media Company in Waukesha, WI. It is available in both a print and digital form (through Zinio). The majority of its circulation is through subscribers worldwide, but copies can be found in hobby shops, Barnes & Noble, and select other locations.

The magazine's content


Garden Railways is published quarterly. Each issue contains hobby-related articles on a variety of subjects, including featured garden railroads, how-to projects, landscaping and gardening, photo galleries, and more.</ref> Each issue includes new product information and reviews of products relating to large-scale trains, such as locomotives, rolling stock, sound systems, books, and more. Regular departments include "Garden railway basics," aimed at beginners; "Plant portraits," a featured miniature plant targeted toward railroad gardeners; "Greening your railway," a gardening/hardscaping column; "One-page project", where readers share a short how-to project.


Garden Railways' hobby store offers a number of garden-railroading products, including:

Garden Railways: The Complete Collection -- a DVD-ROM of 192 issues of Garden Railways magazine, plus 9 bonus issues of the Sidestreet Banner. It also contains all of the full-size drawings ever produced by the magazine.

Get Started in Garden Railroading -- a 24-page booklet designed for beginners to get started in the hobby.

Miniature Garden Guidebook by Horticultural Editor Nancy Norris -- This book is not only about what plants to use in the railway, but how to integrate them into the railroad.

Garden Railway Basics by contributor Kevin Strong -- Kevin walks a beginner through all the steps needed to plan and build a garden railway.

Building Structures for Your Garden Railway by Jack Verducci. This book covers researching, planning and drawing, selecting tools and materials, and construction. It covers everything from bases to roofs including walls, windows, doors, lighting, and painting.

Digital downloads -- Need information right now? We've assembled our most popular subjects into PDF groups that you can buy and download immediately. There are more than 100 groups and counting to choose from.


  1. Garden Trains Association website:
  2. Garden Railways magazine:

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